Studies have shown that the effects of long term stress can lead to harmful inflammation. When you get stressed, this inflammation is your body responding to that stress.
You may be faced with an emotionally challenging situation. Or, you may feel overwhelmed and this can cause stress. No matter what causes the stress, your body reacts to it the same way.
The problem is that the inflammation that results because of the stress can lead to the development of certain diseases. Long term stress forces you to experience the fight or flight mode.
Your body gears up and gets ready to protect you. This is a natural occurrence. When it happens, your body begins pumping out cortisol. This hormone then gets to work focusing all of your body’s attention and energy on whatever the perceived threat is.
Everything in your body kicks into high gear as it prepares to save you. Your heart is going to beat faster, your adrenaline is at the max level and your pulse and blood pressure is elevated.
You start breathing faster and heavier. As all of this is going on, your body starts pouring out glucose as a way to get you ready to fight or run. While all this is a completely natural process, the fight or flight mode is meant to only occur when there’s a true emergency or threat to your safety.
But because your body can’t differentiate between everyday situational stress and the real deal, you end up with this unneeded reaction that leads to inflammation. The inflammation that develops as a response to the stress is felt in the body the same way you’d feel it if you were actually sick.
With a true illness, your body’s immune system gets busy producing markers to help you fight that sickness. These markers show up for work, then leave when you no longer need them.
But the problem is that stress causes these markers, known as pro-inflammatory cytokines, to stick around. These then begin to harm your body rather than helping it. You enter a state of inflammation as a result.
Stress is known to cause inflammation related diseases such as heart disease. That’s because long term stress causes the heart to work harder than it’s supposed to for longer periods of time.
Any inflammatory disease can be caused by chronic stress. Another example is gastrointestinal conditions, such as IBS. But it’s also linked to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as well.
An inflammatory form of arthritis known as rheumatoid arthritis is linked to chronic stress. The inflammation can also worsen other conditions, such as diabetes and migraines. To improve inflammation, set up a strategy to lessen the stress in your life or find ways to deal with it so that your health isn’t affected.